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These are very exciting times. The Oculus Rift was officially launched on March 28, and it’s the next big thing in computing. The Wall Street Journal called it the “first totally immersive home virtual reality” headset produced thus far. It’s not quite the Star Trek holodeck experience that we’re all waiting for, but it’s getting there.

Of course, virtual casinos are the next big thing for the Oculus Rift. I’ve been helping develop some of this software (and hardware), and I’m here to tell you, if you feel a rush when you go to the bricks-and-mortar casinos, you’re probably going to feel the same rush when you slap on one of these headsets. Maybe even more of a rush.

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What is this “rush” we’re talking about, anyway? It’s the increase in adrenalin (epinephrine, to be exact) that your body pumps out in times of risk. Your blood flow increases, your pupils dilate, and your heart rate goes up. In manageable amounts, adrenalin is good for you. If you have too much in your system, it can hurt you.

Casino games, and the casinos themselves, are designed to give you that rush. VR casinos give you a similar experience, one that’s bound to improve as the technology improves. But there’s also the added disorientation that some people experience while wearing the headset. The symptoms of “cybersickness” are not all that different from having too much adrenalin in your system: sweating, headaches, and so on. If you’ve ever had a few too many drinks and wandered into a casino, you may have felt the same way.


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To be frank, most of the work I’ve been asked to do has been about cramming more bells and whistles into the VR casino experience, not fewer. If you’re an adrenalin junkie, you’ll be quite happy with that. I haven’t met very many people who go to the casino to relax. But I have met a few, and for those potential VR customers, I’m working on a gimmick that will allow you to “tone down” your experience. The ultimate goal is to personalize your trip to the virtual casino so it meets your satisfaction. You know, like the holodecks.